Discover the Scientific and Technological Muslim Heritage in Our World
A Quarterly Publication issued by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC), Manchester, UK
Issue 4 - Vol. 1 * Dhu'l-Hijja 1429 / December 2008
|FSTC's Contribution to the Intercultural Dialogue at the General Assembly of the United Nations|
In 12-13 November 2008, the United Nations organised in New York a high-level meeting of the General Assembly to promote inter-faith dialogue. The meeting was marked by the active participation of the heads of state and senior officials of more than 75 Member States who came together to support mutual tolerance, respect and understanding. At the end of the high-level meeting, the General Assembly of the UN adopted a general declaration praising the values of tolerance and mutual respect between faiths and cultures. On the occasion of this high-level meeting in New York, The Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation organised at the UN in New York a display on "Multi-Faith Scientists in Islamic Civilisation" and a conference on the "Strategic importance of Muslim Heritage in our World and its impact on Diplomatic, Educational and Socio-economic Developments".
|Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion (1001 Inventions in UK Parliament)|
Between 13 and 17 October 2008, the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) organised two major events in London: a scaled down version of the "1001 Inventions Exhibition" at the Houses of Parliament (13-17 October) and a conference on "Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion" at Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House, Westminster (15 October 2008). Here follows a short report on the conference illustrated with photos from both events.
|1001 Inventions at UK Houses of Parliament|
1001 Inventions have been given the privilege of exhibiting at the Houses of Parliament, from 13th-17th October 2008. This taster exhibition showcased Al-Jazari's Elephant Clock and Scribe Clock as well as his famous water pump raising machine. The exhibition also covered pioneering projects of FSTC such as the Curriculum Enrichment Programme (CEP) and Cultural Understanding in Science Project (CUSP). The exhibition, which was exclusively for Ministers and Memebers of Parliament, was opened by Jim Knight MP, UK Minister for Schools and Learning on the 15th October.
|Muslim Heritage and Education|
This is the text of a presentation made to The Education and Culture Committee of the EU Parliament in Brussels on the 5th November 2008. The presentation is in two parts. The first is an introduction to the 1000 years of amnesia, the so called "Dark Ages", and its impact on education and culture. The second is a review of the progress made in the ground breaking education project, entitled Cultural Understanding in Science (CUSP) jointly carried by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC), Qualification and Curriculum Agency (QCA) and the Association of Science Education (ASE). Finally a list of concluding remarks and strategic recommendations are given.
|Representing Islam and Muslims in the Media: An Academic Debate|
In 5-6 September 2008 the Universities of Manchester and Surrey organised in Manchester an international conference "Representing Islam: Comparative Perspectives". The meeting attracted over 100 eminent national and international speakers and a large audience. The conference was primarily concerned with the representations of Islam and Muslims in our modern world and the relationship of this representation/mis-representation with current social and political issues. The following article presents a short report about some of the most important debates discussed in the conference.
|Capitalist Traditions in Early Arab-Islamic Civilization|
In this article, Professor S. M. Ghazanfar, a specialist in the history of economic thought in the Islamic civilisation, explores the evidence concerning the roots of historical "capitalism" as it evolved in the early Islamic world. After delineating the geographical extent of capitalistic, commercial/business ventures in the early Islamic world, he discusses the major centres of Islamic commerce, then focuses on the nature and content of the economic activities undertaken by the early Muslim entrepreneurs, and describes the development of financial institutions. Finally, the article concludes with the argument that, notwithstanding the relatively recent origin of the nomenclature, the capitalistic system indeed was the prevailing mode of economic activities in the early Islamic civilization.
|The Invention of Spectacles between the East and the West |
The following article by the expert scholar Lutfallah Gari surveys the historical sources to uncover the ancient history of the invention of spectacles. To the question "where and when were they invented?", and after a close investigation in the some original sources and a survey of secondary literature, the author shows the evidence in favour of the determining role played by Arabs and Muslims in the early history of this tremendous tool.
|Promoting Science-based Cultural Dialogue among Civilizations|
Text of the Lecture of Professor Roshdi Rashed in the Conference Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion marking the 1001 Inventions Exhibition at the House of Parliament, 15th of October 2008, Church House, London, UK.
|Science and Rationalism in 9th Century Baghdad|
Text of the Lecture of Professor Jim Al-Khalili in the Conference Muslim Heritage in our World: Social Cohesion marking the 1001 Inventions Exhibition at the House of Parliament, 15th of October 2008, Church House, London, UK.
|The Book of Curiosities or a Medieval Islamic View of the Cosmos|
The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford has purchased the medieval Arabic manuscript Kitab Gharaib al-funun wa-mulah al-?uyun known as the Book of Curiosities, an exceptionally rich text on cosmography. The treatise is one of the most important recent finds in the history of Islamic cartography in particular, and for the history of pre-modern cartography in general. The manuscript, a highly illustrated treatise on astronomy and geography compiled by an unknown author between 1020 and 1050, contains an important and hitherto unknown series of colourful maps, giving unique insight into Islamic concepts of the world. Portions of the text are preserved in later copies, but the copy owned by the Bodleian library is the only nearly complete coy and the one to have been extensively studied and released in an electronic edition which represents a model for online publishing of Arabic original manuscripts. This high-quality digital reproduction includes interactive displays, through mouse-over techniques, as well as access to a modern Arabic edition and an annotated English translation.
|The Thistle and the Crescent by Bashir Maan: A Book Review|
Information on the long and varied relationship between Islam and Scotland that began as early as the 7th century is non-existent. The Thistle and the Crescent by Bashir Maan has been written to fill this gap. Mrs Margaret Morris reviews this book which covers the history of the relationship between Scotland and Islam, as well as an account of the experiences of Muslims in contemporary Scotland and an account of the beliefs and practices of Islam which counteracts many misconceptions.
|Muslim Heritage: A Scholarly Perspective|
FSTC Research Associate Kaleem Hussain delivered a lecture on ‘Muslim Heritage: A Scholarly Perspective' on 17th April 2008 at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education in Leicester. Aiming to explore the education of children in that area, focusing particularly on Muslim children, the conference presented the projects of FSTC and some milestones in contemporary scholarship in Muslim Heritage. We reproduce in this article a brief summary of the themes touched on during the lecture.
|In Memoriam of Aydin Sayili: Biography and Account of his Scientific Activity|
The following article presents a thorough intellectual biography of the late Aydin Sayili, the well known historian of Islamic science. The second part of the article is a comprehensive list of his works. This bibliography shows the richness and variety of his contributions to the history of medieval Islamic sciences, with a special focus on astronomy, mathematics and physics, the sciences that established the subject of history of science as an independent discipline in 20th century scholarship.
|The Fate of Manuscripts in Iraq and Elsewhere|
In this well informed article, Dr Geoffrey Roper, an expert in the field, outlines an impressive portrait of the dangers and threats encountered by the national heritage of Iraq due to the recent dramatic events in this country. After an historical survey in which the 13th-century Mongol invasion is recorded, the article focuses on the vicissitudes that the tragic political and military situation in Iraq has inflicted on manuscripts, archives, rare books and libraries in different towns of Iraq, especially in Baghdad.
|Aydin Sayili (1913-1993) At Work: His Scientific Biography|
Aydin Sayili is one of the first eminent figures of the history of science in Islam to pursue an academic career in this discipline. He was fortunate to earn the first PhD from the history of science chair established by George Sarton at Harvard University. With this distinguished background, he made valuable contributions to this field throughout his life. In the following article, Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu draws a lively picture of the scientific biography of the late Aydin Sayili (1913-1993) and points out the hallmarks of his scholarly work.
|Ottoman Contributions to Science and Technology: Examples from Geography and Astronomy|
The Ottoman contribution to science and technology during their six hundred year rule is beyond measure. This article is a brief outline of just some of the Ottoman scientific activities and related institutions that brought about the revival of culture, science, and learning in civilization throughout the Islamic world and beyond. To demonstrate the Ottoman scientific contributions, the author focuses on two significant examples from astronomy and geography in the 16th century: the foundation of the Istanbul Observatory and Taqi Al-Din's achievements therein, and map making and mapmakers such as the famous sailors Piri Reis, Saydi Ali Reis and Macar Ali Reis./font>
|The Islamic Heritage in China: A General Survey|
In this article, Anthony Garnaut, an expert in Chinese Muslim culture, focuses on the Islamic heritage in China and its relevance to understanding both the evolution of Chinese history and culture, and to appreciating the complex, multi-ethnic influences on modern China. Beginning with the Mongol conquest of the greater part of Eurasia in the 13th century, that brought the extensive cultural traditions of China and Persia into a single empire, he describes the great impact the Chinese Muslim communities exerted on the Chinese civilisation in technology, sciences, philosophy and the arts.
|A Bibliography of the Islamic and Chinese Scientific Relationships in Classical Times|
In the following bibliography of the Islamic and Chinese scientific relationships in classical times, a list of the main recent works is produced. The researches cover various scientific domains, from mathematics and astronomy to technology, geography and travel accounts. They show the mutual influence between the world of Islam and the Chinese world.
|Muslim Heritage in Mechanics and Technology: Outline of a Program for Future Research|
The following text is the revised and expanded version of a lecture presented at The Royal Society in London (1st March 2007) during a meeting of the Muslim Heritage Awareness Group (MHAG) in which Mohammed Abattouy outlines a potential future research program in Muslim Heritage in the fields of mechanics, technology and engineering.
|Vidinli Huseyin Tawfik: A Modern Turkish Specialist of Linear Algebra|
This article is a biography essay on the life and works of Vidinli Tawfiq Pasha, a 19th-century Ottoman scholar, statesman and general of 19th-century Istanbul, and a noteworthy mathematician who published in 1882 an important book in Linear algebra, a new branch of mathematics at that time. After a short biographical sketch, we present a complete compilation of his writings in Linear Algebra and in other fields.
|The Advent of Scientific Chemistry|
Until recently, the mainstream history of scientific ideas has failed to acknowledge numerous Islamic scientists and their great efforts and achievements throughout the centuries. This short article seeks to contribute to redressing this injustice by highlighting Muslim contributions and attitudes towards the progress of chemistry.
|Certain Aspects of Medical Instruction in Medieval Islam and its Influences on Europe|
In this article, Professor Aydin Sayili analyses the medical teaching in the different phases of Islamic civilisation, especially in the madrasa system. The network of schools covered the Islamic world from the 11th century onwards, while the European university was developed over a century later and at a time when Latin translations of Arabic philosophical and scientific works were already available. Thus he established a parallel between the features of the madrasa and the university in pre-modern Europe and stresses how the medical authorities of Islam such as al-Râzî and Ibn Sînâ were accorded a place of honour in European medical schools.
|A ‘Gap-Filling' Book on Islamic Economic Thought|
This book is a collection of previously-published papers on the origins of economic thought discovered in the writings of some prominent Islamic scholars belonging to the five centuries prior to the pre-modern era. This period was labelled by the late Joseph Schumpeter in the 1950s as representing the "great gap" in literary history, in particular the history of economic thought. Since then, this error, already well embedded in the relevant literature, was further strengthened and perpetuated. However, during this period the Islamic civilisation was the most fertile ground for intellectual developments in various disciplines, including economics. The present single-volume collection of papers attempts to fill that blind-spot in the history of economic thought.
|From Alchemy to Chemistry|
Until recently, the mainstream history of scientific ideas has failed to acknowledge numerous Islamic scientists and their great efforts and achievements throughout the centuries. This short article seeks to contribute in redressing this injustice by highlighting Muslim contributions and attitudes towards the progress of chemistry.
|Glimpses in the History of A Great Number: Pi in Arabic Mathematics|
The Greek letter pi (symbolized by p) is defined as the ratio of the circumference of the circle to its diameter. It is considered to be a vital element in the calculations of areas and sizes of several mathematical figures: the circle, the cube, the cone and the sphere, from which infinite practical applications have sprung. As a result, mathematicians in many civilizations (Greek, Chinese, Indian, Arabian and European) have been highly concerned with calculating p as carefully as possible. This article by Professor Moustafa Mawaldi, the Dean of the Institute for the History of Arabic Science in Aleppo, sheds light on the contribution of some mathematicians of the Islamic civilisation in refining the value of pi. The works surveyed are those of Al-Khwarizmi, Al-Biruni, Al-Quhi, and Al-Kashi.
|Sine, Cosine and the Measurement of the Earth|
Mathematics has long been an area of expertise amongst Muslim mathematicians. This article considers the contributions of Al-Tusi and Al-Battani and others in trigonometry, focusing upon the progress their discoveries represented in comparison with the ancient tradition as displayed in Ptolemy's Almagest.
|Eye Specialists in Islam|
"I invite you... to go back with me 1000 years to consider the fascinating history of the old Arabian ophthalmology which I have studied in the past five years." With these words Julius Hirschberg, addressing the American Medical Association in July 1905, presented the work of Muslim ophthalmologists. Inspired by the pioneering work of the eminent German expert, Dr Ibrahim Shaikh describes in brief in this well informed article the contributions of Al-Ghafiqi, Ibn al-Haytham, Salahuddin Ibn Yusuf, Kalifah of Aleppo, Zarrindast, and Ammar Al-Mosuli. He devotes a special interest to the first description of cataract operation by Al-Mosuli and its subsequent impact on the works of his followers.
|Islamic Art in Poland: The Kornik Castle|
The article is about the famous Kornik Castle near Poznan, in Poland which has many features inspired by Islamic art and architecture. Outlining the reasons of this influence, Mrs Latour-Abdalla describes the many aspects of Islamic art, architecture and learning featured in this monument until today.
|Bringing to Life the Islamic History of Europe: A Video Documentary Testimony|
The video documentary produced by the BBC in 2005 An Islamic History of Europe, by the famous TV presenter Rageh Omaar (who also covered the American invasion of Iraq), reveals the surprising hidden story of Europe's Islamic past.
|George Sarton and the History of Science |
George Sarton was a pioneer scholar who played a decisive role by his scholarship, methodology and academic career in establishing the history of science as a recognized subject in modern academia. His monumental major work in multiple volumes Introduction to the History of Science set a high standard and led the way for many others to follow. In this article, the late Professor Aydin Sayili, who was a student of George Sarton in Harvard University, scrutinizes Sarton's contribution through his own analysis and memories, and relies on the corpus of literature produced on Sarton by historians and academics.
|The Islamic Art in the Louvre Museum in Paris|
The first stone was laid on July 16, 2008 at the Louvre's new Arts of Islam gallery. With this initiative, France's famous Museum is preparing to receive its groundbreaking Islamic section that will showcase the world's most comprehensive Islamic art collection.
|Arabic and the Art of Printing |
In this special section reproduced from Aramco World (issue March/April 1981), distinguished authors cover topics related to printing in the Islamic civilisation. It is showed, in particular, that contrary to the notion that the technology of printing somehow bypassed Muslims, the Islamic civilisation has left substantial evidence that block printing was a craft familiar to many in the medieval Islamic world between the 10th and the 15th centuries, long before Gutenberg invented press printing. The most common texts to have survived are amulets, of which several dozens survived, some of which are preserved in European and US libraries and museums.